Dr. Gelia T. Castillo devoted her early years in the academe as Director of Maquiling School; Head of the Social Research Division of the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños’ Department of Agricultural Education; and Chair of the UP Los Baños Social Science Commission. Dr. Castillo also helped establish the Department of Sociology in the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy of UP Diliman.
Dr. Castillo pioneered studies on Filipino farmers’ technological adaptation, rural problems and rural-urban inequalities, link between social science research and action, and the role of Filipino women, decades before these themes became part of the development discourse. She is well-published. Her most significant publications include All in a Grain of Rice, Beyond Manila, and How Participatory is Participatory Development?
Dr. Castillo’s engagements outside of UP involve, among others, her membership in the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, the Research Advisory Group of the Philippines Business for Social Progress, and Executive Committee of the Philippine Human Development Network, and her consulting work with the International Rice Research Institute.
Dr. Castillo was recognized as an Outstanding Filipino in 2004, not only for her pioneering researches aimed at improving the lives of Filipino farmers, but also for being exceptionally concerned with “furthering human development and narrowing inequalities in society.” Gelia T. Castillo was also conferred the rank of National Scientist, the highest honor given to Filipino scientists, in 1999.
Her educational background comprises a master’s of science degree in Rural Psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 1950, and a doctorate degree from Cornell University.